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Bluestocking Books: Our Community Bookshop

$3,324 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 21 people in 22 days
Hi! Kris Nelson here - owner of Bluestocking Books, San Diego. For over 50 years this special space has been a bookshop, and for 20 years now with me as its steward. WOW! I am SO pleased that the community and my staff have continued to find this very real bookshop a valuable part of daily life and community.

This funding effort addresses both technical innovations & updates as well as more support needed up front to be adding books to our inventory-database-system. It will post for the month of May 2019 and fund us for a year+++

~$6,000 = to reinstate 1 year/1 day per week, 1 employee/$ living wage. To get ahead of the sales out-flow, adding to the inventory. Each employee here has over 20 yrs or more experience in books and are life-time employees whose hours were cut during leaner years. We've worked together over 10 years to be open daily. I love my team!

~$8,000 = 1 year management & consultation on how our Point of Sale register/system & website work together, as well as search engine optimization. We definitely have more people coming in the store than ~15 -20 years ago when a lot of shopping migrated to the internet. People are back! The Internet helps them finds us and our POS system gets our inventory online for shoppers both local and far away. It's all running okey right now but systems need feature updates**

Labor is the hardest cost to cover up front without more debt. If I invest in more product, sure it makes money but 98% of that goes to overhead and the 2% left over doesn't reinvest well. I will invest on systems to work smarter and labor to increase inventory so we can do more & do it more efficiently.

This magical Internet is integral for a business today to be found, to sell, to inform & communicate. Chances are, if you're reading this, you are already familiar with our bookshop. It's come to provide a cultural touchstone for everyone who enters and we strive daily to provide respect and best service to all the people around us. The act of shopping now is anything from a literally faceless experience to a warm exchange. We prefer the latter! The visible increase in numbers of people who want real bookshops, and want to interact & connect with someone as well as something ain't just a win for bookstores, it's win for humanity! Maybe we won't all end up alone and staring at screens!?! ;) 

I am making this option available again at my 20 year mark because the 2015GoFundMe brought a lot of good, both in funds and in conversations. I want every opportunity available for anyone who wants to support! I hear it from the clients (you.) how wonderful, magical, calming, important, valued, etc. this third place is and so totally agree: I am its witness. I see it & you and lovely sparks. Working to be one in a long line at 3817 5th Ave! Long live bookshops! Thanks for reading all this. :) Kris 

**Before purchasing Joseph Tabler Books in 1999, My job background was Specialty Searches. We all did this through the mail then, using trade journals. There were lists of titles wanted & lists of titles for sale scanned by sellers who sent postcards & books all around the world. In the 1990's this work migrated to the Internet. I introduced a computer here in 1999 & Specialty Searches are still part of what we do every day. I have updated the BsB website 3 times over the years for better book-shopping features. From 2003 - 2005 we got the inventory entered into a database. Currently ~17,000 items are updated daily on bluestockingbooks.com, amazon.com and the rare books get listed on Advanced Book Exchange, abebooks.com.
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Hello Booklovers! Asking again for shares of this campaign before the end of May - then it’s GROW TIME!! Or-just come buy books
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So many reasons! Please share this campaign if you are inclined - we just want to reach more people :)
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More inner workings of a Bookseller’s Brain:
3) Internet ah yes...it has changed the landscape of shopping.

Some background: retail pricing...some types of re-sale mark up product a little (~10% like fresh produce, higher turnover / lower mark-up) while others mark up items many times the original cost (specialized gear, furniture, pharmaceuticals, 100-5000%). So, if I pay $5.00 for an item and sell it at $10 I keep $5.00?! Well, ok for 1 second I made $5 profit, but then overhead costs like rent, wages, insurance & utilities get paid and it's gone. New book prices are set by the industry, and for many years, the standard used-book would be priced about 1/2 the cost of a new copy. Rare books can be more, but the average used books have always been 1/2 cover price. For a few centuries, there was a code of conduct among the booksellers not to price things way under this standard or each other, so we had consistency and value that made some sort of sense within the used trade as well as compared to new book prices.

When Amazon.com came along, they not only sold the brand new books at a discount lower than any actual bookshop could afford via monster bulk buying and storage, but under what they cost most of us to even purchase for a respectful amount from our clients. It was a new way of doing business that cost way less for wily Amazon.com because working out of warehouses instead of retail space requires less tax, less insurance, temp employees; coupled with the bulk-buying practices no small indie business could ever have means to do, they changed everything for all of us. A perfect way to undercut regular retail from distribution to final sale, thus anyone who wanted to save money (um, everyone with a computer!) migrated over to check out this cool cheap book place. This also undercut local economies in every town by creating less local banking via less local employees and less tax revenue. By now many towns have lost bookshops, music stores, hardware stores, shoe stores, toy stores, sports equipment shops... lots of the places families might be seen living their lives. Of course now grocery stores, pharmacies and malls are in that same line of fire, while new small bookshops are beginning to open across the country as shoppers voting with their dollars have decided real people in their lives, towns and hearts are preferable to ordering online!

Many would argue that this business practice also undercut the human race by removing a human face from the means and goods that make up so much of our lives. Certainly the lives of the workers in the warehouses who are the piece-workers of our time, living in poverty and funky warehouse working conditions - cold & damp, there are transient caravan-camper folks who drive from these kinds of jobs to the next to stay employed. See Heike Geissler’s Seasonal Associate for another version... I also think as consumers, should not our everyday items be some of the most special, meaningful things in our lives, not just 99cent soap-dishes and shoelaces wrapped in 8 yards of bubble-wrap?!?

In the 1990s, for me the Internet was this interesting new place to find books faster than the usual month(s) delay of advertising in a global trade journal and corresponding with booksellers through the postal service. I migrated over to find books for people, it was different but the same - mostly dealers and collectors. Then as more folks got computers ~2000 and on - when I was the new guy in this old bookshop, everyday customers started to tell me "I can get this for a dollar on Amazon." The "half-new" prices no longer made any sense, but bills were still the same. Many people felt that I should change my price to meet the lowest price, if not I was ripping them off 'because that's the price online'. Amazon.com has changed what shoppers think - to the extent that clients believe the books we get for people are from Amazon.com and not the publishers! Folks believe we should order the exact one they saw on Amazon for $2.99 for them and resell it to them for the same amount. This is just a small bit of what I’ve got rattling around in my head. So many conversations I have offended I know because I most my colleagues who are gone, and I apologize. It is good to still be here and I LOVE that San Diego has this amazing reading culture that has stepped up to bring their old books in and keep reading, keep sharing favorites and giving books to kids!!!

Ok I am now on my 50th bday gift vacay but I am still watching over here and Mary and Dawn are at the shop waiting for your call. Love love love BOOKS!!!! -kris nelson
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Thanks again donors and supporters :D!!!
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$3,324 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 21 people in 22 days
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